Follow us on:





RSS Feed to all our Blu-ray Reviews



Director Steven Soderbergh’s CONTAGION ($36) is an effective, but somewhat clinical and emotionally detached thriller, which is concerned with the effects of a worldwide pandemic, one that quickly kills the infected. Featuring a large ensemble cast, CONTAGION follows multiple storylines that look at the human, economic and sociological effects of a highly contagious virus, which infects its victims with rapid onset flu-like symptoms that quickly escalate into something lethal. Presenting its story in a near documentary fashion, introduces us to patient zero: an American businesswoman who is returning from a trip Hong Kong. Unaware of her infection, our businesswoman stops in Chicago for a tryst with a lover, before returning to her husband and son in Minneapolis. However, within days of her initial symptoms, she collapses with seizures and dies.

From there, the infection spreads from all those patient zero has had contact with in Hong Kong, Chicago and Minneapolis- not to mention all those other individuals she encountered on assorted domestic and international flights, as well as those in the various airports. Those patient zero directly infected, rapidly begin infecting others, who in turn, infect more and more people until hundreds become thousands and thousands become millions. As the virus spreads across the globe, members of the medical community race to find a cure. However, with no quick cure in sight, and the body count rising into the millions, the world’s economic systems and the very fabric of society breaks down, and within quarantine zones people begin looting and hording just to survive. The ensemble cast of CONTAGION features Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Ehle, Enrico Colantoni, Bryan Cranston, Sanaa Lathan and Elliott Gould.

Warner Home Video has made CONTAGION available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is looks good and seems to be in keeping the filmmaker’s artistic intentions. Shot digitally with Red One cameras, director/cinematographer Steven Soderbergh maintains a cold, clinical and at times, sickly appearance that leaves one ill at ease as the world the characters inhabit deteriorates. Sharpness and image detail is not exemplary, but remains quite strong throughout and does not disappoint in any particular way. Colors can be sometimes appear a bit cold and desaturated, plus, the film’s pallet skews towards a sallow, sickly appearance, yet flesh tones tend to look correct. Still, there are some sequences with strong saturation and warm hues, but they are the exception, not the rule. Blacks are generally accurate, but the whites are crisp and stable. Contrast can run a bit hot, but that’s a stylistic choice. Since CONTAGION wasn’t shot on film, there is no actual grain in the image.

CONTAGION is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Featuring a very low-key soundtrack, CONTAGION is talky drama that keeps the majority of the sound localized front & center. There are some active effects and incidental sounds that are to spread to the outlying channels, but the sound design doesn’t draw attention to itself. Thanks to the lossless encode, fidelity is strong which benefits Cliff Martinez’s engaging score. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. An English Dolby Digital 2.0 channel track, along with Digital 5.1 French, Spanish, Portuguese and Thai tracks have also been provided.

The interactive menu gives one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Featurettes and other programs include: The Reality Of Contagion (eleven minutes), The Contagion Detectives (five minutes) and Contagion: How A Virus Changes The World (two minutes). CONTAGION is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Disc two offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray. An authorization code is provided for an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film, which is just a stream away.

Despite the clinical and emotionally detached approach to the material, CONTAGION remains an effective thriller. The Blu-ray presentation is a solid representation of what the film should look and sound like. Recommended.


Contagion (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2011)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2012 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



Add to My Yahoo!  Add to Google  RSS Feed & Share Links